Safety Stand Down Day: Hunter Army Airfield Community Virtually Experiences Distracted Driving

A soldier participating in the distracted driving simulation at Hunter Army Airfield Base on Thursday, July 9, 2015.

On Thursday, the military community at The Hunter Army Airfield Base teamed up with the Arrive Alive Tour Program for Safety Stand Down Day.

Soldiers had the opportunity to experience the consequences of distracted driving using a simulator.

And many of them told News 3 they believe this experience will make them better drivers!

The crash you just heard was one of many that happened on Thursday during the distracted driving simulation on the Hunter Army Airfield Base.

And Safety Officer Michael Philbert said he’d rather have soldiers experience it during a simulation–than out on the road…

“What we hope to accomplish is that we bring realistic training through a simulation activity so that soldiers can actually see the end state of driving distracted without having to actually experience it in real life.”

While the soldiers were in the car—they wore glasses that showed the virtual road, as they were instructed to keep a certain speed while attempting to send a text message.

…And it was a lot harder than many of them thought it would be!

I tried it too–and texting and driving not only caused me to swerve–but also sent me right off the road!

Tyler Herbstreith, a team leader out on site for the simulation, says a lot of people didn’t do so well on the virtual course.

“A lot of people are surprised at how bad they’re doing texting and driving,” Herbstreith said.

But he says he wasn’t surprised, because he told News 3 for every drunk driving accident, there are four texting and driving accidents on the road.

One of the soldiers told News 3 she couldn’t believe how helpless she felt behind the wheel during the simulation…

“This simulation basically made me feel like I was out of control when it came to driving. I did not have full control of the wheel, so it difficult to maneuver,” said Staff Sergeant Angela Whitlock.

…Difficult enough that Whitlock said she’ll do her best to keep her eyes and ears on the road.

“This was definitely an eye-opener for me when it comes to texting, driving, any type of distraction with the vehicle…So I will definitely think twice when it comes to…when I get that ringtone or something like that comes up in my phone,” Staff Sergeant Whitlock said.

Officer Philbert says he hopes his other soldiers feel the same way, too!

If you’re interested in learning more about distracted driving, click here: http://1.usa.gov/19PAuWQ

If you would like to learn more about the Arrive Alive Tour, click here: http://bit.ly/1LUT0Nv

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